Dish of the Week: Succotash

Succotash makes the perfect, light summer side for grilled fish, steak or chicken.
Succotash makes the perfect, light summer side for grilled fish, steak or chicken.
Photo by Ralph Daily

From classic comfort foods to regional standouts and desserts, we'll be sharing a new recipe with you each week. Find other dishes of the week here.

This week, we’re sharing a recipe perfect for summer: Succotash.

Succotash is a dish that marries sweet corn and lima beans, often combined with ingredients such as tomatoes, green or sweet red peppers, onions, and various legumes. Other variations include fresh herbs, lobster or scallop, garlic and bacon.

It is said to date back to at least 1751 in the Rhode Island area, having most likely evolved from msíckquatash, a dish of broken or boiled corn kernels that was common among the Narragansett Native American tribe. Most food historians agree it was a probable candidate for the famous “first Thanksgiving” at Plymouth, Massachusetts, in 1621.

With such affordable and accessible ingredients, it became a staple during the Depression era, and today, you probably encounter it only at the Thanksgiving table. But you shouldn’t wait until the fall to enjoy the dish. Sweet summer corn is as fantastic as ever right now.

This recipe, from Gourmet, incorporates fresh corn and shell beans along with sweet Vidalia onion, cherry tomatoes, basil, arugula and bacon. The dish is served along with crusty garlic croutons, making it the perfect side for grilled fish, steak or chicken.

Herbed Summer Succotash

Ingredients serves 6
1/4 pound bacon (about 4 slices)
1 pound fresh shell beans in pod (or 1 cup frozen baby lima beans)
3/4 pound cherry tomatoes (about 1 1/2 pints)
4 ears corn
1 small Vidalia onion or other sweet onion
1 large garlic clove
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon Sherry vinegar
1/4 cup packed small fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup packed small fresh arugula leaves
Accompaniment: garlic croútes

Directions

In a skillet, cook bacon over moderate heat until crisp. Drain bacon on paper towels and crumble. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon bacon fat from skillet and set skillet aside.

Shell fresh beans if using. In a small saucepan of boiling salted water, cook beans, covered, over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until just tender, about 5 minutes. In a sieve, drain beans and rinse under cold running water to stop cooking.

Cut larger cherry tomatoes in half. Working over a bowl to catch the juices, cut corn kernels from cobs. Chop onion and mince garlic.

Add oil to bacon fat in skillet and cook onion over moderate heat, stirring, until softened. Add garlic and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add tomatoes, corn, and vinegar and cook, stirring, until tomatoes just begin to lose their shape. Remove skillet from heat and gently stir in beans and half of bacon. Cool succotash to room temperature and gently stir in basil, arugula, and salt and pepper to taste.

Serve succotash spooned over garlic croûtes and sprinkled evenly with remaining bacon.


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